Assorted Stupidity #134

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  • TOP STORY: After spending months telling supporters not to worry about getting the coronavirus, the president is now telling them that if they want to go to his no-social-distancing rally, they have to waive the right to sue if they get the coronavirus. “By attending the rally,” the campaign’s website says to those who register, “you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19 and agree not to hold Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. … or any of [its] affiliates, directors, officers, employees, agents, contractors, or volunteers liable for any illness or injury.” If there are any such risks, that is, which, of course, there certainly are not.
  • Zoom is being used for all kinds of legal proceedings these days, of course, but to my knowledge it has not yet been used in the U.S. to sentence someone to death. That has happened at least twice, though, according to these reports, once in Nigeria and once in Singapore. “It’s not clear if sentencing someone to death is against Zoom’s terms of service,” Gizmodo said in its report.
  • So far as I can tell, it isn’t, as long as sentencing someone to death is not “illegal” in the relevant jurisdiction. See Zoom Terms of Service § 2(d) (defining “prohibited uses”). Arguably, this might be covered under section 2(d)(vi), which prohibits using the service to communicate any message “that constitutes or encourages conduct that could constitute a criminal offense, under any applicable law or regulation….” (emphasis added). I think the death penalty is forbidden by at least some human-rights provisions, and it is (theoretically) possible to prosecute someone for violating those in the International Criminal Court. But that would only be “applicable” in Singapore if it has signed the relevant treaties, and I bet it hasn’t.
  • Another provision that might work, though, is section 15 (“No High Risk Use”), which tells us that Zoom’s services “are not designed or licensed for use in hazardous environments requiring fail-safe controls, including without limitation operation of nuclear facilities, aircraft navigation/communication systems, air traffic control, and life support or weapons systems. The Services shall not be used for or in any [such?] HIGH RISK environment.” So you can’t use Zoom to run a nuclear plant or air traffic control system, or to fly a plane(?) or shoot missiles from a drone. Good to know. I would argue that, certainly for the defendant, a court in Singapore is the sort of “hazardous [and] HIGH RISK environment” in which Zoom shall not be used, at least if it involves a potential termination of life support. And, at least in Singapore, I would probably lose.
  • The Hernando County (Florida) Republican Party says it isn’t supporting Nick Nicholson’s run for county commissioner this time around. Nicholson was a commissioner from 2012 until 2018, but that ended when it turned out he was running a brothel out of his house, among other alleged acts that one might not expect of a county commissioner. Nicholson says those were “personal problems which have since been resolved,” but party leaders say voters would be better off with one of the three other Republicans seeking the position.
  • In a story that is probably impossible for me to confirm, and is at least triple hearsay, but which I am passing on anyway, the Hindustan Times reported on June 9 that a donkey had been arrested for gambling. The report says Pakistani police arrested the donkey and eight human co-conspirators during the raid, and also seized about 120,000 rupees. That’s less than US$1,600, or about $175 per gambler if the donkey anted up the same amount. The extent of the donkey’s involvement is unclear, but this is apparently being described as an “arrest” because the animal’s name appears in the initial police report. The police refused to give the donkey’s name, citing privacy rules.
  • That might or might not be the same sort of misunderstanding that led to attempted-murder charges being filed against Muhammad Mosa Khan a few years ago, after Khan was arrested along with 35 others following a disturbance. Khan was nine months old at the time. See Baby Indicted” (Apr. 4, 2014). The murder charges were dropped a few days later on the grounds that children under 13 (years) cannot be found criminally responsible under Pakistani law. See Baby Walks” (Apr. 12, 2014).